Quiet Riot Members Share Real-Life ‘Spinal Tap’ Moments
During their decades on the scene, Quiet Riot have played everywhere from the biggest stages to the rankest clubs — and as drummer Frankie Banali and former bassist Rudy Sarzo proved during their recent appearance on Talk Is Jericho, they've gathered plenty of war stories along the way.
In particular, the duo look back on the band's appearance at the 1983 US Festival as a good example of the kind of chaos that live music can create at even the most high-profile gigs. Explaining that they had other tour obligations lined up for the days before and after the festival, Banali and Sarzo remember having to send their road crew on ahead to the next gig while enlisting their manager and road manager to fill in as temporary roadies.
Needless to say, the last-minute substitutions created their own set of problems — which were in turn compounded by the massive size of the show. "We were in the trailer, and every time someone came back from the stage, they'd be petrified," explains Sarzo. "It would be like, 'Oh my God, there's so many people out there! I'm so scared.' ... We get up on stage and we do our set, and it's hot, and everything is going out of tune. Here comes [Carlos Cavazo's] guitar solo, and I go back to tune, and my tuner is off calibration completely. I'm going 'What am I gonna do now?'"
After doing his best to tune up on the fly, Sarzo headed back on stage for the set's last two big numbers, only to discover to his horror that he was way off. "In the video, you'll hear it. I'm completely out of tune. I'm in tune to myself, but not to Carlos," he recalls. "That's my memory of the US Festival."
"Let me add to that," interjects Banali. "I needed to have a drum tech, because our drum tech wasn't going to be there, so I had our tour manager get in touch with a drum tech we'd had before — that we'd fired. So here we are, it's about 40 minutes before we're supposed to go on, and I'm standing backstage. My drum kit isn't quite completely set up yet, and it's getting down to the wire. So I go out there, and my tech is like on one knee, clutching his heart, and he says, 'I think I'm having a heart attack.'"
Banali, suggesting that the heart attack was drug-induced, admits to thinking the tech was fooling around, which led him to behave ... less than compassionately. "He's now down laying on the stage, and I start to kick him," he recalls. "And as I'm kicking, the paramedics come around the corner and they take him away. So now he's gone and my drum set's not set up right."
Forced to improvise, Banali donned a disguise and headed out on stage to finish putting his own drums together — half in Quiet Riot stage garb, half in an incognito getup that included a ponytail and baseball cap: "I still have the black and red tights, but I'm pretending I'm not me. That was the US Festival. That was the real US Festival."
To listen to the rest of Banali and Sarzo's Talk Is Jericho interview, check out the complete episode below.
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